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Research on 'Time-Starved' Mothers

Married couples in the United States spend, on average, 130 hours per week on paid and unpaid work combined. But all our hard work is not enough. Research shows working parents "increasingly feel that they do not have enough time to get things done at their jobs."

How do we cope? We look for ways to buy back our time. One researcher writes: "The time-starved mother is being forced more and more to choose between being a parent and buying a commodified version of parenthood from someone else." Of course, fathers are faced with the same conflict, but mothers still do more of the household work. So, increasingly, new products and concepts are being developed to extract smaller bits of time and effort from family life and return them to the family—for a price—as ready-made goods and services.

Here's how one company markets its services:

How much is it worth to stop being frazzled and feel rested and ready to go at work? If a personal concierge can keep you from realizing at three in the morning that you forgot to send out a Mother's Day card, the odds increase that you'll get a good night's sleep and be fresh and ready to go the following day when your boss hands you another emergency project.

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